Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Pest of the West

Season 22, Episode 64
First aired 12 April 2018

We open at Keane’s, where Adam takes a break from teaching gorillas sign language or whatever they do there to listen to Mack inform everyone that his buddy Niall here is babysitting Liam Óg today. I’m not sure it’s technically babysitting if it’s your own child, but OK. Laoise impatiently tsk-tsks that she already knew about this because she heard Máire complaining about it earlier, because if there’s one thing Laoise can’t stand, it’s complainers. Mack and Niall leave as Cóilí Jackie arrives, slaps €75 he may have drawn with crayons down on the counter, and demands ten more bags of yesterday’s discount fertilizer. Adam informs him that he knows he owes €100 for yesterday’s crap, and that he better pay up, or else Laoise here is going to keep sneering at him and calling him a thief. Cóilí Jackie leaves to spread his mayhem elsewhere, and Laoise takes this opportunity to get another dig in at Adam, reminding him that none of this would’ve happened if he hadn’t decided he was too good to keep using cuneiform chiseled into clay tablets like Micheál has been doing since he came here from Mount Ararat and opened a jump-rope factory or whatever this place is. Adam looks pained, and it’s worth noting that there is an identical cactus to the one from last episode on a shelf next to the mousetraps, which suggests that either Micheál is stocking multiple cacti now or that Cóilí Jackie decided the last one was an extravagance and returned it to get his money back.

At Gaudi, Pádraig asks Katy if he can have the weekend off so he can take Sam camping in Inis Oírr, which you may be interested to know has an average score of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Google Island or whatever this page is that I landed on when I was looking up how to spell “Inis Oírr.” It seems the Aran Islands as a whole got docked a tenth of a point for producing Berni. Anyway, Katy reminds him that she can’t cover for him because this is the weekend she and Jason are going to Dublin to take some nice family photos of the two of them screaming at each other in front of the Book of Kells. It’ll be a nice change from last year’s family Christmas card, which showed Katy smashing Jason’s iPhone on the ground at a bullfight. Pádraig says he understands, and then pauses for a moment before shamelessly launching into the story of how the only reason Sonia’s offered to let him keep Sam is that she’s going to a wedding in London, and that this will almost certainly be the last chance he ever has to see Sam before we all die of global warming and so on. Clearly this is all a total load, because none of us believe for one minute that anybody would invite Sonia to their wedding. Anyway, the guilt trip works and Katy says that he can go and she’ll leave the place in the capable hands of Sinéad, who as usual is just out of frame whenever she’s mentioned, but the way Katy nods in her direction tells us she’s TOTALLY a real person who is RIGHT THERE.

At her place, Mo is on the phone arguing with the hospital’s voicemail system, trying to decide whether she should press 4 because she has cancer but doesn’t think she should pay for it or press 6 because her mother visited and now her arse hurts. Colm arrives just as she puts the phone down in disgust because she accidentally oprima-ed el 8 para español and now has to hang up and start all over again. And speaking of pains in the arse, just then Bloody Peatsaí arrives carrying all his suitcases, which surprises all of us, including Mo, because we’d all just assumed he’d died off-camera. It turns out he’s just been stuck at JFK due to weather delays since March of last year, but on the plus side, Aer Lingus let him have the chicken and the fish as compensation. She and Colm look distressed, because of course they just got rid of one familial hanger-on, and now this. I hope Bloody Peatsaí is having an affair with Aidan, too!

Back at Gaudi, Gráinne and David call Pádraig over to their table to tell him they can’t afford to move out after all, and also that they found a banana peel in their paella. He’s annoyed and sulks off in a strop even when they offer to stick to their arrangement and let him move into the larger room. You know what would make a nice housewarming gift? A cactus!

Adam has Uber-ed out to the dreary swamp where Cóilí Jackie lives, arriving just in time to hide behind a Vodafone kiosk and snap photos of him pouring bucket after bucket of black sludge someplace he’s apparently not supposed to, such as on an ancient Viking burial ground. Once he finishes befouling the countryside in much the same way he befouls the pub toilet every time he comes to town, Cóilí Jackie spots Adam and tells him to go away or he’ll sic his pack of trained attack ghosts on him, but Adam says he’s not going anywhere until he gets his bags of fertilizer back. Cóilí Jackie snots that he doesn’t want any drug dealers on his land, which we have to admit is pretty amusing, and then adds that Adam better start scooping if he wants his shit back, because he’s standing on it. Defeated, Adam storms off in search of a DART station so he can get the hell out of this place, and once again I say he needs to quit his job at Keane’s and get a radio gossip show so he can spend his time talking shit rather than arguing about bags of it.

At the B&B, Mack is leaning against the counter smirking while Niall is on his knees scrubbing crayon off the kitchen door. Well, this is what happens when you leave Mack unattended with a box of Crayolas. Niall fumes that he only turned his back on Liam Óg for a minute, and then Mack helpfully points out that he smells something burning, but can’t be bothered to turn his head and see it’s a frying pan full of…I’m going to say sautéed onions that Niall was making for Liam Óg’s lunch. Mack continues smirking as Niall narrates that parenthood is a lot harder than he imagined, pausing his sad story briefly to throw up in the sink at the thought of changing nappies. If he thinks that’s bad, wait till he sees where Liam Óg had a wee. He sadly says the only way to keep Liam Óg happy is to let him watch cartoons, but Mack helpfully points out that he himself has watched 14 hours of cartoons per day every day since age 2 and it hasn’t done him any harm. Niall goes off to sob quietly in the corner, and Mack goes to fight with Liam Óg over the remote, because it’s time for Scooby-Doo.

At Gaudi, Mo and Uncle Pest are eating what appear to be bowls of basil when Adam arrives to tell her he’s having trouble with Cóilí Jackie and needs her help. She reminds him that even though they’re neighbors, Cóilí Jackie won’t listen to her, especially since he still halfway believes she killed his dog last season. Once Uncle Pest gets over his surprise that Cóilí Jackie hasn’t been killed in a tractor or prostitute accident of some kind, he motions for Adam to sit down, because he’s been back in Ros na Rún for 8 minutes without getting in a fight, and in Peatsaí’s world, that’s about 7 minutes too long.

Elsewhere, John Joe returns O’Shea’s car keys to her, and when she asks him how much she owes for whatever he did, he tells her to put her wallet away because he just replaced her fan belt with a hair scrunchie he found on the floor at Dee’s. He thanks her for the help she gave Úna, assuring her that he maintained her reputation as a stone cold bitch by not telling anyone of her involvement, and then invites her to a card game he’s having at his house. Clearly things are different in Ireland than they are here, because in America you tend not to invite police officers to your poker game at which there will be illegal gambling. When she fusses that she’s no good at cards, he says he’ll help her, offering to teach her the different hands and show her how to stab someone in the face when you think they’re cheating and so on. Besides, he says, she’ll add a bit of class to the occasion, since at his last poker game Mack punched a potted fern and Eoin mistook a lamp for the toilet.

Áine is packing up her things upstairs at the pub and tells Katy she’ll be back next weekend to look after Jay. Katy reminds her that they’ll all be away in Dublin next weekend, but Áine informs her that actually, Jason told her he and Cuán are leaving Katy and Jay here, and that Katy will therefore need Áine’s assistance because of her gross incompetence as a parent. Jason arrives and so Tadhg, sensing what’s coming, hurries Áine out of the range of fire, screaming, “Leave your other shoe! I’ll buy you a new one!” as he hustles her down the stairs. Katy asks Jason what’s this she hears about her and Jay not going to Dublin all of a sudden, and he acts like she’s stupid for ever thinking the plan was for all four of them to go in the first place, even though, you know, that was the exact plan the last time we heard about all this. He argues that she has to stay here because she gave Pádraig the weekend off, and when she responds that Sinéad will be there, he says she can’t be trusted to run the place, especially since she may or may not exist. She then suggests that he take Jay with him and leave Cuán here, but he points out that Paddy would be very disappointed because Cuán is delightful whereas everyone knows Jay sucks. I’m paraphrasing, but not by much. Katy then accuses Jason of loving Cuán more than he loves Jay, which you can tell is a card she’s been waiting to play for a while, and eventually she says she doesn’t care what he does and storms out, leaving him staring at his computer intently, presumably reading these recaps to find out if anything’s been going on in the scenes he’s not in that he needs to know about.

Back at Gaudi, Bloody Peatsaí and Adam are concocting a crime spree that will consist of stealing the fertilizer back from Cóilí Jackie even though they don’t know his claim that he already spread it around is a lie yet. Mo can’t believe Peatsaí has only been back from wherever he was for five minutes and he’s already a criminal, so he has to explain that spending twelve hours at JFK Airport eating $14 slices of cold pizza really hardens a man. Mo warns them that this is a bad idea because Cóilí Jackie has a gun, and the last thing we need is for David to get shot in the penis with it again.

Back at the B&B, Liam Óg is busy trying to look up at the boom, but Niall keeps interrupting him to ask him if the mark on his arm hurts. It’s very cute, actually, because Niall keeps asking him what the subtitles claim is “An bhfuil sé tinn?”, although it sounds more like “An bhfuil sé nim nim?”, and Liam Óg replies every time with a puzzled “Hm?” that exactly mimics the rising intonation of whatever Niall is asking him. There’s a knock at the door that turns out to be Bobbi-Lee, and at first it’s as if she’s Liam Óg’s emergency contact or something, but we will later find out that she just stopped by to flirt with Niall. He freaks out and drags her over to Liam Óg’s little arm, desperately asking her, “Is that meningitis?” Well, that is a disease that children on soap operas often get and which has long-lasting effects, such as when Michelle Fowler’s daughter got it in 1987 and then decades later they both came back to Albert Square played by new and terrible actresses with unbelievable accents.

After the break, during which we all Google what meningitis looks like to see if maybe we have it, too, we have a quick shot of David and Gráinne grimly packing their things to move across the hall. We then return to the B&B, where it seems Nurse Bobbi-Lee has administered a Boots Home Meningitis Test to Liam Óg and determined that the red spot on his arm is actually strawberry jam. She then leans in and does her best Mae West impression about 2 inches from Niall’s face, discussing snuggling and beard rash and how bendy she is, but before we have to turn the hose on them, they remember that they are in the middle of a medical emergency and conclude that Leroy Beag or whatever his name is probably just has cartoon-induced heat rash from being irradiated by the TV all day. She flirts with Niall some more, and it’s nice because it looks like he may actually be into it, as opposed to all the embarrassing one-way flirting Bobbi-Lee is so often involved in.

Over at Gaudi, Pádraig is banging on to Katy about how unfair it is that Gráinne and David have decided not to move out after all, because he’d promised Sam he could start staying in Bedroom #2 when he comes to visit, but now he’s being demoted to one of the other 5 bedrooms in their infinitely expandable house. He asks her if he’s being selfish, and hilariously she immediately makes it all about herself by replying, “At least you have friends and a house!” He makes the mistake of asking her what’s wrong, which means that the next time we see them, she’ll be talking about something Dee did at her 7th birthday party and he’ll be a cobweb-covered skeleton.

And now, in the “Clash of the, err, Titans” portion of our program, Uncle Pest has gone over to Cóilí Jackie’s for bag-of-shit-related reasons. They argue for a while over the fact that they’ve hated each other ever since one of them took the other’s place in Herman’s Hermits or whatever and eventually Cóilí Jackie calls Bloody Peatsaí a “rotten Yank” and tells him to go back to America and stay there. This show needs to remember that sometimes nice Americans come to visit, like me, and that we’re all not asthmatic home-wreckers or all-purpose nuisances in Hawaiian shirts. It’s also worth noting that this is the least crazy Cóilí Jackie has ever looked, though I’m unsure whether it’s because he’s not wearing his trademark cap or because he’s standing next to Uncle Pest. Eventually Peatsaí gets to the point of this visit, which is to report that some of Jackie’s cows have gotten loose. Jackie is skeptical at first because his property is completely ringed with a dense field of landmines, but he gets worried when Peatsaí swears he saw them heading down the M6 towards Dublin, and even worse, some of them were smoking. At this Cóilí Jackie goes running off across the field, and then Peatsaí gives a thumbs-up to Adam as he emerges around the corner of the house brandishing a crowbar, and OH MY GOD ADAM AND PEATSAÍ ARE GOING TO BEAT CÓILÍ JACKIE TO DEATH WITH A CROWBAR.

Back at Gaudi, winter has turned to spring and Katy concludes her story by announcing that Dee had diarrhea at Tayto Park when she was twelve, and also that Jason doesn’t love Jay. Pádraig disagrees with her, and so she says that OK, then Jason strongly prefers Cuán, and we’re all wondering at what point during this discussion Pádraig will realize he’s not sure which one is Cuán and which one is Jay and whether it will make any difference to how he proceeds conversationally anyway. Eventually they seem to settle on the idea that Jason prefers Cuán and Katy prefers Jay, but since no parent really loves all their children equally, as long as they each like one of them, it’ll be fine.

At a table, Dee has shifted into lawyer mode, explaining that while she would be more interested in Mo’s situation if she were a sex trafficker of some kind, she still thinks she’s got a strong case and could sue the insurance company if she wants to. She says she’ll need to see the documents, of course, and also read the Wikipedia on Irish healthcare law, but in the meantime, she advises Mo to keep detailed records of everyone she speaks to and what they say and to remember that if she feels backed into a corner, she can always blow up the hospital. That last part is implied.

A glamorous pimp who turns out to be Caitríona in her new Huggy Bear hat is at Keane’s buying a hot-air balloon or whatever they sell there from substitute cashier Laoise. Adam arrives and triumphantly tells Laoise that they stole the bags of fertilizer from Cóilí Jackie’s shed while he was out chasing down the cattle that Peatsaí let onto the road. Laoise can’t believe they did this, because the cattle could’ve caused an accident or eaten the polytunnel, and she chases Caitríona off when she notices her interest is vaguely piqued. This is all a bit rural for Caitríona’s tastes, but she is between books and looking for ideas right now, at least until we find out whether Berni murders Briain or the other way around. Once she’s gone, Laoise hisses at Adam that Cóilí Jackie’s going to report him and Peatsaí to the police if he finds out they let his cows out, and that Micheál’s going to sack him, too. Well, I hear the café has an opening, and I don’t think Adam has worked there yet, so….

Elsewhere, Pádraig tells David and Gráinne that he’s just realized he can’t afford the house on his own after all, and that if they’re still willing to pay an extra €50 per week/month/year, they can keep the big bedroom and all this will have been for nothing. Well, all’s well that ends back exactly where we started.

Fia arrives at the B&B to find Máire doing some flower arranging with a bouquet it turns out Niall has bought for…his babymama! Yes, it seems today has taught him that keeping Liam Óg alive is difficult, especially when he’s constantly getting meningitis and feeding Mack crayons, and that he wants to recognize all her hard work. Máire leaves to get some sharper scissors, either to continue with the flowers or to stab Niall in the neck, and when Fia shyly asks him if he’ll be sticking around for a while, he smiles and says yes, because he needs to keep working on his babysitting skills. They both grin sheepishly, and while it would be nice to see them getting along because I like both of them, I really hope this isn’t leading to the two of them hooking up again. I will make an exception if Máire can walk in on it and then go insane as with Fia and Pól.

Back at Keane’s, Cóilí Jackie has arrived to scream at Adam a lot. He says he knows Adam stole his bags of fertilizer, to which Adam stupidly replies, “I didn’t go anywhere near your old shed where you had hidden those bags, which I had no way of knowing unless I were the one who did it!” We’re starting to understand why Adam’s life of crime never really took off. There’s a lot of threatening, and then Adam says that if Cóilí Jackie turns him in for the cattle/shit incident, he’ll turn Jackie in for dumping toxic waste in the water supply that flows into the baby-formula factory. I’m semi-paying attention to this. We’ve reached a stalemate, and while I’m not sure who outsmarted whom here, the disappointing part is that it seems Cóilí Jackie and Adam aren’t going to drag each other down to the police station for a possible sighting of that cop who looks like Jason Statham and would make a good boyfriend for Adam, probably.

At the pub, Niall is flirting with Bobbi-Lee, thanking her for not letting him make a fool out of himself by taking Liam Óg to A&E to have jam washed off his arm. He volunteers that she should have been a nurse—hey, if we’re pretending, she could’ve just as easily been an imaginary doctor!—but Tadhg interrupts to say she should’ve been a nun instead, preferably in one of those enclosed orders. Hee. It’s nice to see a bit of the old Tadhg coming back. She replies that she couldn’t have been a nun since she had a daughter, and then he takes the good-natured teasing about eleven steps too far by exclaiming, “I forgot! Mother of the Year!” before wandering off. Ouch. Niall notices that this has clearly hurt Bobbi-Lee, so he tries to lighten the mood by exclaiming brightly that he didn’t know she had a daughter, at which point she sadly tells him she did, but she was killed in an accident. This just keeps getting grimmer and grimmer. He apologizes, and then asks, “So, Cuán is your…?”, and I’m not sure how any of this led him to posit that there’s a connection of any kind between Bobbi-Lee and Cuán, but OK. He furrows his brow and says there’s one thing he doesn’t understand, which is: How can Bobbi-Lee be a grandmother when she’s so young? Ooh, here we go!

Katy arrives upstairs, causing Jason to slam his laptop shut. That’s what I call “the porn slam.” Amazingly, instead of starting up another fight over the weather or the price of milk or whatever, Katy apologizes for accusing him of not loving Jay earlier, explaining that she’s been very stressed out with Brexit and the new families on Gogglebox and so on, but she still shouldn’t have taken it out on him. Jason asks her to take Cuán, who is contorted in a knot on the couch in the background, down to the car, and he’ll meet them there in a minute. Of course the parked car is where they usually put the children to sleep, but it seems this time they are actually going somewhere, such as “away forever.” The best part of this scene is when, in response to Katy asking if he’s got his teddies, Cuán proudly shows them off, and it turns out they’re a Tigger and a slightly smaller Tigger. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. They disappear, and then when Jason opens his laptop we see that, disappointingly, he was not looking at some kind of super-weird porn, but instead placing an order for a DNA paternity test. We will ignore the fact that the clock in the bottom corner of his screen tells us that this was filmed on December 4 and instead concentrate on the important part, which is that we hope this is some kind of DNA test in which everybody pees on a stick that Jason can then leave on the kitchen table or at the top of the bin for Katy to discover and then go berserk.

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